This award-winning collection begins with the long essay "Reactions to Homophobia," followed by poems and short essays on a variety of topics, such as religion, violence, friendship, and gay relationships. "Reactions to Homophobia" counters anti-gay statements made on the basis of family, the Bible, etc.
Ronald L. Donaghe (Common Sons) writes "Duane Simolke's seminal work Holding Me Together is a gratifying mixture of scholarship, art, and personal expression. In the long essay, 'Reactions to Homophobia,' readers will meet an intelligent and patient narrator who takes virtually every ignorant question and misstatement seemingly ever made about gays and lesbians and, as though speaking to those who ask such questions or make disparaging remarks about homosexuals, refutes the ignorance. Simolke does, indeed, shed a brilliant light into the dark recesses of homophobia."
In a review appearing both at QMediaReviews.com and in the November 25, 2005 issue of EXP Magazine, SouthWest Edition, critic Shawn Revelle calls the revised, second edition of Duane Simolke’s book Holding Me Together “an inspiring and timely collection of works.” Revelle goes on to share details about Holding, which he also refers to as “a worthwhile and life-affirming read.”
Table of Contents for the 2nd edition…
Part One: Reactions to Homophobia, An Essay
Reactions to Homophobia: Introduction. “Unlike gay people, I don't tell people what my wife and I do in bed.” “They can be gay, as long as they hide it.” “If a normal guy or a white guy gets beat up, hate crimes laws can't help him. That isn't fair.” “I’m not queer, so why I should care about those people?” “We shouldn't have to see gays when we watch TV or movies.” “I would accept gays, but I believe in family values.” “Family members spending time with their gay relatives would suggest that they endorse that lifestyle.” “They live that gay lifestyle.” “It's an insult to African Americans to compare being gay to being black.” “The parts don't fit.” “If we weren't so tolerant of gays, there wouldn't be any.” “I wouldn't mind gays if it weren't for them checking me out.” “Having gay parents makes children gay.” “Gay people should try to be cured.” “Homosexuality is a mental illness.” “If everyone were gay, we'd stop having children, and die out.” “You deserve what happens to you, because you choose to be gay.” “Accepting homosexuality destroyed empires like Greece and Rome, and even led to the Holocaust.” “They recruit.” “They just haven't met the right person of the opposite sex yet.” “Gays can't adopt, because their children will get teased, and that isn't fair.” “God sent AIDS to the homosexuals because He loves His children and wants to turn them back to Him.” “God didn't create Adam and Steve.” “The Bible says it's wrong.” “The Bible says God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of gays.” “I love the sinner, hate the sin.” “Anyone who condones homosexuality can’t be religious or moral.” “We can't allow gay marriages, because tradition protected heterosexual marriage and reproduction for thousands of years.” “Public schools need to quit hiring gays and quit promoting homosexuality.” “Gays can't serve in the military, because that would disrupt efficiency.” “Surveys prove gays are a much smaller number than they claim, that their average lifespan is 44 years, and that they have 5000-15,000 partners per year.” “Homosexuals are just a bunch of men dressing up like women.” Reactions to Homophobia: Conclusion. Reactions to Homophobia: Resources.
Part Two: Poems and Short Essays
Home. Chasing Seagulls. Rainbow. How “Children in the Streets” Wrote Itself. Children in the Streets. Children in the Streets (Song Version). Friday Afternoon Spectrum. Reception. Album. Can God Cure You? Digging Up “The Gardener.” The Gardener. second year. Separated. Angels and Razors. Question. Faces, Parts I-VII. Process. Songs In Sign Language. Forgotten. Sock Poem. Higher Education. Haiku. TV Senyru. Not Worth Dying Over. Siblings, Ten Voices. Homeless, I: Cities Don't Build People. Homeless, II: Also. Family. Ex-Gay? Part I: Cocoon. Ex-Gay? Part II: The Ex-Me Movement. Ex-Gay? Part III: Who Does God Hate? Spiral Staircase. Violence. Storm. The Escape Artist. Daughter. The Same Lips. Pharisee. The Loss. Adding to the Hurt. Bareback. Success. Spelunker. Out Of the Closet. The John Doe Family. Family Reunion. A Great American Voice. Anne Bradstreet. Cycle. Cross. Hero. Two Rapes. If: A Satire. The Bible and Gays. Tonight’s Wind. Denial. Undetected. Elephant On An Opera Stage. Detour. Editing. More About the Author and His Works.
By killing yourself, intentionally or through unsafe sex, you call yourself worthless and expendable. How can you think of a human being that way? Quit punishing yourself for the bigotry in society. Refuse to help the cause of homophobia. Take care of yourself. Learn to love yourself and protect yourself. See yourself and your partner as worth protecting. Treat safer sex as an act of defiance and gay pride, a statement about your love for yourself, a statement about the value of your life. Treat living each day as a tear in the fabric of bigotry.